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Serbia paves way for European garment sector revival
May '12
Serbia, a land-locked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, is sowing seeds for revival of the European apparel and accessories industry.

The Serbian cities of Subotica and Leskovac have successfully attracted investment, as European textile and clothing firms decide on setting up their base nearer home, owing to rising costs of production in Asian countries.

Italian lingerie producer Calzedonia has entered into an agreement with the Serbian City of Subotica, under which the latter has allotted 8.5 hectare land to the firm in the industrial zone Mali Bajmok for developing a production facility.

The producer of swimsuits, stockings and innerwear for men, women and children, intends to spend around €20 million in the first phase, generating around 1,000 new employment opportunities over the next three years.

Earlier this year, German socks manufacturer Falke invested in a new unit in Leskovac, southern Serbia. The new factory has been set up on an area of 16,000 sq m within the Industrial Zone at a cost of around €10 million.

The Falke unit is equipped with latest machines and it aims to annually produce 15 million pairs of high-quality socks and stockings, mainly for exports. The firm began operations at the new unit with an initial staff of 600 workers and it now plans to add more staff this year.

Meanwhile, a Turkish jeans manufacturing firm is currently in the process of securing land in the city of Leskovac for its own factory.

Serbia has advantage of availability of skilled workforce as around 160,000 people were engaged in the country's textile and clothing industry in 1990 compared to around 40,000 in 2010, according to a recent report by the European Stability Initiative (ESI).

Last year, Serbian textile and clothing sector exports were valued at US$ 921 million, which were mainly destined to the EU markets. The figure was 24 percent higher than the export value registered in 2010.

Clearly, Eastern Europe, and especially Serbia, offers a glimmer of hope for the revival of clothing industry in Europe.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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